When the thyroid or thyroid hormones are mentioned, it usually refers to the other two hormones — triiodothyronine, or T3, and thyroxine, or T4 — which are responsible for regulating your metabolism.
Thyroid hormones affect every system in your body, including:
- Breathing and heart rate
- Protein production
- Nervous system
- Body weight
- Muscle strength
- Body temperature
- Cholesterol levels
- Menstrual cycle
Various health conditions can cause your thyroid to produce too little or too much T3 and T4. It’s critical to properly treat an underactive or overactive thyroid because both conditions significantly impact your health.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, causing the body to slow down. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity to cold
- Puffy face
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- High cholesterol
- Thinning hair
Your metabolism speeds up when your thyroid gland produces too much hormone. Hyperthyroidism causes symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Rapid heartbeat
- Nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
- Tremor in your hands and fingers
- Difficulty sleeping
- Thinning skin
Untreated hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause serious heart problems. In addition to high cholesterol, hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart. Hyperthyroidism causes an irregular heart rhythm and congestive heart failure.
Hyperthyroidism also increases your risk for osteoporosis and eye problems. Additional complications associated with hypothyroidism include goiter, depression, and infertility in women.
The primary treatment for hypothyroidism consists of thyroid replacement therapy. For most people, it only takes about two weeks of treatment with thyroid hormones to begin feeling better.
Several treatments exist for hyperthyroidism, so your doctor at Boerne Family Medicine recommends the best option based on your age, health, the underlying cause of your thyroid condition, and your personal preference.
Call the team at Boerne Family Medicine or book an appointment online if you have a question about your metabolism or have symptoms associated with thyroid conditions. They’re available to answer questions and schedule an appointment to screen you for thyroid problems.